Feb 20 2019

How to Simplify Your Social Media

Social media has done wonders for connection and exposure. It is easier than ever to reach out to folks you don’t know and stay in touch with those you do, and its ubiquity makes it an accessible tool to promote yourself and your business. Unlike you or your business, however, the threads of the world wide web never disconnect to rest. It’s easy to become overly attached to online happenings, and to neglect keeping a healthy distance from them. How does one balance the necessity of a social media presence with some semblance of sanity?

Choose Your “Why” Purposefully

Social media is, first and foremost, a set of digital tools. Just like a hammer has its purpose, so do all the websites and applications at your fingertips. Make sure you have clarity about your online purpose before establishing your platforms, to help keep you on task.

Let Authenticity Clear The Path

Once you’ve ironed out your “why,” the next step is dialing in how you’ll present yourself. I mentioned finding your authentic voice when discussing content overwhelm in our newsletter (hit us up here if you’re not already a subscriber). Authenticity is key to keeping your messaging and design focused and clear. When your message is clear, the means by which you share it stays clear as well. Focus time and energy on the appropriate platform(s) instead of spreading yourself thin on every one.

An aside, of sorts: specificity in your messaging can also bolster your confidence in what you deliver, and lessen (if not eliminate) the urge to compare yourself with others. The vast reach of the internet nearly guarantees your customers and peers are out there somewhere. Give them the real you, and they’ll find you!

Focus on What Fits Your Business

This leads right into my next suggestion: limit your platforms. You might have recoiled at that suggestion. Isn’t it better to be everywhere? Not necessarily. Each platform has its pros and cons; focus your attention on the ones that fits your business best. Keeping your presence simple and straightforward also keeps your stress level low.

Another way to keep stress at a minimum is with assistance. Social media management apps give you more bang for your proverbial buck by allowing you to collect and schedule your content in one place, even allowing you to share content across platforms. Having everything in one place saves both time and sanity. Like the platforms themselves, each app has pluses and minuses; we’re happy to discuss what apps can work best for you.

Set Boundaries… and Stick to Them

When it comes to your business presence, consider keeping your social media time within business hours. Yes, the internet never sleeps… but you need to! Just as you schedule time for meetings and events, consider scheduling time to follow and respond on social media. You might allot a large block of time (say, one hour), or schedule smaller check-ins throughout your work day. You can further loosen the web’s tug by turning off notifications, eliminating distractions and breaking the habit of immediate response.

Another swell aspect of scheduling your social media time: it frees you up to create! Do you tend to scroll mindlessly when you really should be dialed into your work? (It’s okay to admit it — I definitely distracted myself with Instagram and the NBA app at least three times while writing this post!) Note the places of resistance when it’s time to put nose to grindstone, and notice if you sabotage your own efforts with distractions.

Your social media should reflect who you are and what your business has to offer, but it doesn’t need to run (or ruin) your life. If you could use an assist in finding that perfect balance online, reach out and let’s talk (IRL even!).  

 


Feb 04 2019

Making Content that Connects

Kelley Gardiner headshot
Kelley’s smiling because she knows how to make your content smarter.

We spend our days designing dreamy websites, and we’ve learned that you shouldn’t trust just anyone with your content. Content is what makes you memorable, and it’s never a place to cut corners! That’s why, when we were looking to tune up our website copy a few months ago, we called in Kelley Gardiner Content & Copy to guide us to our happy place.

Kelley generously took some time to chat with us about diving head-first into self-employment, reaching your ideal clients, where to find some extremely tasty baked goods, and how to know when to call in some professional copywriting help.

UPSWEPT CREATIVE: According to your Instagram, you “quit your job to become a writer.” What were you doing before this? Have you encountered any noteworthy and/or mundane challenges in making that transition?

KELLEY GARDINER: In short, I was sitting at a desk with other people telling me what to do. Before that gig, I was creating programming for a continuing education program department at a community college in Indiana. (Then, we moved back to Portland in a recession.) Things I miss about working in an office: the food carts across the street. People hardly ever tell me if my outfit is cute. It’s hard to keep myself on track, as distractions are everywhere, and other than client deadlines, nothing really HAS to be done. That newsletter can go out a few days late, and no one but me will know, you know? 

It’s also a challenge going into a field that requires putting a lot of yourself on the line and dealing with rejection. Desk jobs might be soul-crushing, but they usually require little emotional energy. Running your own gig takes a lot.

UC: What are some strategies you use to reach your ideal clients?

KG: Talk to them. Show them what a catch I am. The right people will pick up what I’m laying down.

Right now, I’m using a bunch of strategies: blogging on kelleygardiner.com with relevant, fun stuff, guest blogging to boost my quote-unquote authority, having lots of coffees with people, networking events. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I kind of like networking, because I realized that it’s not sleazy. It’s about talking to people, learning about what they do, and seeing how you can help them. Sometimes, you can help people by writing words for them in exchange for money. That’s a valuable service, and no one has to buy unless they really want to.

UC: We love the updated website copy that you wrote with us — how the heck did you capture Upswept’s brand voice so authentically?

KG: Luckily for me, you have a strong brand voice that I was able to plug into! My biggest job was pulling out messages that needed to be coaxed a little further. Like about how awesome you are. That’s an important one.

Maybe I cheated a little bit by following Upswept over the course of several years, and knowing Sarah for a long time.  [ed. note: hey, it’s important to do the research, however it happens!]

UC: Let’s say I’ve got a website for my business and I know it needs a copy overhaul, but I don’t think I have the budget for it and I want to try to rewrite myself. Do you have any advice for me? Where do I start? How do I know when it’s time to call in a pro?

KG: Just write it! That’s always the easiest and hardest writing advice. Getting started is the hardest part. Remember the basics: what your customer wants, and why you are the best person to deliver it.

Write it. Leave it for two days. Edit it. Have a friend come look at it.

Are people confused about what you do after they read your website? Are you getting the wrong kind of leads? Are people not taking the actions you want? You might need help.

To be honest, most people don’t have the cash for professional copy when they’re first starting out. When you’re ready to go to the next level, give us a call. I also happen to have super affordable consulting packages to help people get their brains wrapped around projects like this. I’m here to help!

UC: Do you have a preferred coffee shop or similar for working away from home?

KG: More like a small rotation of coffee shops. I’ll shout out Jet Black, my walking-distance vegan coffee shop extraordinaire, with the friendliest staff and usually cute dogs on the patio. Then there’s Hungry Heart Bakery in Montavilla. Get the banana walnut muffin and/or the chocolate chunk cookie. No, seriously. They are both extremely good.

UC: Is this the right time for the story of your book about roller derby?

It’s extremely the right time! Somehow, it’s been six years since I played roller derby and the book is out of date/not being published. But, lately, I’ve been thinking about how it’s exactly the kind of writing I want to do more of. Taking something overwhelming and breaking it down to easy-to-follow steps. Encouraging people to do the thing. Writing that’s easy to read and keep reading. Helping people! I don’t want to literally hold your hand, because you know, sweaty, but I want to make hard things easier and more relatable.

If you’d like Kelley to make hard things easier for you, give her a holler via her website. We definitely recommend it!


Mar 30 2018

Social Media Tools for Success

Running a full-scale social media marketing campaign for one business is a lot of work. You’re responsible for creating and scheduling content, keeping up on analytics, honing strategies, and developing a brand voice that engages directly with potential customers. All across multiple accounts, ideally with some coordination between them (but without too much crossover).

Luckily the tools that assist in this kind of work have become more sophisticated. As a social media marketing professional, I’m here to tell you about the most essential apps and services that you can use to succeed.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash.

Post Scheduler

This is the number one essential tool. It makes managing posts across platforms much easier. You can plan and schedule your content in advance, across multiple platforms, and a whole lot more depending on the service you choose.

Hootsuite is the most well-known and popular scheduler, but there are many options out there. Services like Buffer, Sprout Social, and Social Pilot all have the same basic set of features. However, their user-interfaces and other functionalities can be wildly different. To find the one that works for you, consider the scale of your project(s), budget, and the ancillary tools that come with some platforms (phone app in addition to web browser, social media analytic tools, etc…). Don’t be afraid to try a new platform and find out how it really works. Many of these platforms have free trials or even full plans for free. Trying something is the best way to determine if it will suit your needs.

Listen Socially

“Social listening” is the process of monitoring an account or set of accounts 24/7 in order to get the most data points as possible- a feat not many humans can pull off! Advanced social media analytics is impossible without some kind of social listening tool like Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and TweetDeck.

It can be tricky to find the right one, or collection, especially on a budget. I recommend taking a look at what each platform you’re active on has to offer for free. From there, you can determine what additional information you’d like to have, and seek out the tools that can fill the gaps.

Holy Utility, Batman!

A lot of social media management happens from your smartphone. Creating good, engaging, and professional content on the go seems daunting, but phones these days are incredibly capable. These apps will help you work on the go:

Adobe Premiere Cut (iOS and Android) is the go to app for video production for social media. This free app allows you to edit video files on your phone, and the amount of options is very impressive. Soundtrack support, color and lighting touch-ups, and combining clips from multiple sources is all supported. If you plan on doing regular video content in your social media marketing (it is very engaging), this app comes highly recommended.

Datally (Android only) is an app that Google put out that empowers heavy data-plan users to take control of their data usage. A social media manager spends a lot of time on their phone. Unlimited data plans are expensive, and not always an option. Datally makes sure you only use data when you want to, which can help curb overall usage by 30%.

Clips (iOS only) is another video editing app, but this one is of a different breed. It excels at creating cute, short videos that feature graphics, live captions, and animated photos. It’s the perfect app for creating fun videos to share on Instagram. Cute catches the eye on social media, and this tool can definitely help do that.

 

Being a social media manager is a job where you get to wear a lot of hats. Copy editor, statistician, and graphic designer all come into play. It really is a lot of work, and many people who are starting their own business underestimate the time commitment and level of expertise required. That’s totally understandable. Lucky for you, Upswept Creative can help! Our very own Social Media Maven is not only a social media expert, but also an expert at meeting each client where they’re at in terms of budget, time commitment, and experience.

Find out how she can help you and your business today! Reach out and schedule a consultation, on us.


Dec 22 2017

The Balancing Act of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is unlike any other type of marketing. Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the various platforms provide unique opportunities to build an audience organically, made up of people that are just as psyched about your product/brand/business as you are. These platforms are highly personal. It’s prudent to keep in mind that your posts will be appearing alongside baby pictures, personal anecdotes, and selfies. Finding a tone that fits both your brand message and that context is what good social media marketing is all about.

IDENTIFYING YOUR BRAND MESSAGE

At Upswept Creative, we call this “Finding Your Brand Center.” It is the core aspects of your brand that will help an audience quickly determine what your business is all about. Sarah actually wrote a short workbook that guides you through finding your brand center, which you can download for free.

A core philosophy behind “Finding Your Brand Center” is to imagine your ideal customer or client. Put yourself in their shoes. Which aspects of your business to you need to highlight in order to get noticed?

VARIETY IS THE (SOCIAL) SPICE OF LIFE

Facebook heavily controls how a page’s posts appear in the feeds of its followers. The link you include, the actual text content, the image – literally everything has an affect. Engagement has a huge positive affect. Generally, the more engagement a post generates, the further its reach. Engagement bait, however, is monitored and punished.

Finding a balance between experimenting with tone, and maintaining strong messaging, is tough but can look stunning in the end. Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Having variety in the tone and content of your posts is a huge help in finding success. Not only do you get to experiment often, and find what works, but you avoid falling into the pitfall of sameness that plagues a lot of Facebook business pages. Providing a variety of content is more interesting to look at and stay engaged with. The challenge is to experiment with different types of posts while maintaining a consistent brand message.

BE POSITIVE

The world is pretty grim. Social media feeds can often be a minefield of bad news, outrage, and aimless political arguments. Your business presence has an opportunity to cut through the darkness, and all it takes is some positivity. Don’t be afraid of getting a little silly with your posts. This is the internet after all, have fun with it!

Pictures of cute animals, using a popular meme format, or simply a “day-in-the-life” style post of your work day are all good options. Be creative!

FIND THE CENTER

I often think of social media marketing as a balancing act. Striking a tone that is both personal and speaks to the core of your business, experimenting with variety while maintaining strong brand messaging, and staying positive in a sea of negativity are all part of the balancing act. Stay focused by setting goals and measuring your success. Ultimately, though, it’s a lot of work.

Upswept Creative has a resident Social Media Maven, Josselyn, who is an expert in finding the path to success in social media. She’ll create for your business a plan that meets you where you’re at – from comprehensive management, to empowering you to take the reins of your own online marketing. Reach out to us today to schedule your consultation!